What is a hybrid?
Many people tend to use fairway woods rather than using long irons due to the fact that the woods have a much larger sweet spot on the face. However, fairway woods have longer and heavier shafts which players find much more difficult to master.
A hybrid sits between both options, able to offer the distance of a fairway wood with the accuracy and control of irons.
What’s the difference between a Fairway Wood and a Hybrid?
The key difference between a fairway wood and hybrid is the size of the club heads and the length of the shafts.
Fairway woods have the longer shaft and larger head of the two options, allowing for shots that are much more suited for being played off the tee and on the fairway. The larger head on the fairway is much more forgiving and will send the ball higher as it creates much more backspin. The hybrid is best suited for shots that need to be played from the rough as its smaller head will allow for a better connection with the ball on uneven and bad lies more easily.
Hybrid or Irons?
For many beginners, they find a hybrid a much more forgiving club to use compared to using long irons. This is because the hybrid has a flat face that is similar to irons when setting up your swing at address, but the clubhead shape means that the club makes much smoother contact with the ground and does not dig into the turf like an iron might.
The loft in a club is the angle that the clubface is in relation to the surface of the golf course. When choosing a hybrid club, you need to know the loft of the club so you can decide if you are willing to part with an iron or fairway wood.
A low lofted hybrid, which offers between 14 and 17 degrees of loft, is a suitable replacement for a 3-wood or a 5-wood and is much easier to use on the fairway compared to a long iron. A hybrid with a moderate amount of loft, 18 to 22 degrees, can be used in place of either a 7 wood or 3 or 4 irons too. Higher lofted hybrids, 23 to 28 degrees, can be a suitable replacement for a 4 or 5 iron however you may have to sacrifice a little distance for consistency, depending on how far you can hit it.
How the shaft flexes when using a hybrid will impact the clubhead speed and launch of the ball, so when picking out a hybrid be sure to get a fitting to ensure you have chosen the right shaft to fit your swing. Normally hybrid shafts are typically stiffer than iron club shafts, with the material usually being steel but graphite is available.